Europe's terrorism problem goes far deeper than the attacks we saw in Paris and Brussels. But many travelers are still committed to making their European trips as planned despite a seemingly gloomy forecast for summer travel that these charts show.
Summer booking cancellations for Brussels are among the highest for European destinations but it’s not the only city on the continent feeling the grim effects of violence.
Bookings for Brussels and other European capitals such as London, Paris, and Rome are down for the upcoming summer travel season compared to 2015, ranging from -2% to -13% for bookings made before the March 22 terror attacks in Brussels to -3% to -24% the following week.
Travel data company ForwardKeys analyzed airline reservations data from more than 200,000 online and offline travel agencies worldwide for Brussels bookings as of March 27 for upcoming summer travel and compared them to last year’s summer travel bookings. These reservations include travelers who booked at least one-night stays in the city.
The key takeaways are that group bookings have seen the largest decreases and cancellations year-over-year and that bookings during July and August, while trending below last year, aren’t abysmal. Decreased bookings and cancellations seem highest in April and May but then slightly improve through August.
Chart 1: Group reservations saw the largest decrease for Brussels in the week following the March 22 attacks. This decrease considers net bookings —new bookings minus cancellations — for March 22 to 29, 2016 compared to the same week in 2015.
Chart 2: More than half of bookings for Brussels as of March 29 were from Europeans. European arrivals to Brussels are projected to be down by nearly 30% between April 14 and August 31. Regions like Asia-Pacific are more resilient and China particularly still shows strong demand for Brussels after the attacks.
Chart 3: Cancellations for trips to Brussels will be felt most heavily for the next two months but demand during the summer months is more similar to last year.
Chart 4: Looking at bookings for other European cities, overall bookings for Europe are down between -1% to -5% after the attacks for travel from April 14 to August 31 versus the same period in 2015. Cities like Amsterdam, Madrid and Barcelona still show positive numbers. Since Spain hasn’t suffered any recent terror attacks and is traditionally a popular summer destination anyways, it stands to still see strong bookings heading into the summer travel season.
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Photo Credit: Belgian Army soldiers patrol outside EU headquarters in Brussels on Monday, Nov. 23, 2015. Security was tight in the city even before the attacks last month as terrorists tied to the Paris attacks had Brussels connections. Virginia Mayo / Associated Press